+ Health Professions – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \

Health Professions

Hobart and William Smith Colleges is an ideal place to prepare for a career in the health professions. Over the past five years our placement rate for medical, dental and veterinary school applicants has exceeded 80%, well above national averages. Many recent graduates are also now successful physical therapists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, and a variety of other clinical practitioners.

Our small class sizes, high-quality faculty, and community of collaborative, diverse and high-achieving students promote strong learning outcomes. Professional schools know this, and value our graduates for what they learn at HWS and for their records of success in taking on new challenges after college.

Students at HWS also extend their education beyond the classroom. Our students take part in research on campus, pursue service learning and community service projects, and study abroad all over the globe. Pre-health students at HWS are thus at the forefront of generating new knowledge, and their obvious and effective commitment to improving the lives of others is informed by real-world understanding of the challenges that face our local and global communities.

Student Resources

Meet Our Team

At HWS pre-health advising is individualized. Our mission is to advise both undergraduates and alumni/ae regarding all aspects of the admission process to professional schools in health services.

Whether you aim to pursue an MD/PhD, join Doctors Without Borders, become a large animal veterinarian, or serve your community as a specialty or primary care provider, we will work with you to help you achieve your goal.

Faculty Adviser

Justin Miller

Responsible for helping students interpret the academic requirements of particular professional schools and choose the appropriate course work at HWS.

Justin Miller, Associate Professor of Chemistry

Career Counselor

Scott MacPhail

Responsible for placing students in internships, addressing questions about professional options in health care, and assisting students with the application process for professional schools. To schedule an appointment, please email:

Scott MacPhail, Associate Director of Health Professions Counseling and Fellowship Advising

Advisory Committee

In addition to advising students interested in health professions, the committee pre-reviews applicants for dental, medical and veterinary school.

Blackwell Scholarship for Prospective Students

Elizabeth Blackwell

The Elizabeth Blackwell Class of 1849 Pioneer in Science Scholarship program is named for Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman physician in North America. She received her medical degree from Geneva Medical College (now Hobart and William Smith Colleges) in 1849, graduating at the top of her class.

The scholarship is awarded to first year applicants who have completed advanced science coursework, relevant research or participated in science related experiences. Blackwell scholars are expected to pursue coursework or research in the sciences at Hobart and William Smith.

Learn more and apply

Letter of Recommendation


A major advantage of attending HWS is the opportunity to request a Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) recommendation in support of an application to medical, dental, optometry, or veterinary school. The HPAC letter provides a detailed review of the applicant's overall preparation for professional school, and is part of a packet that includes supporting letters that students obtain from faculty, research supervisors, medical professionals and mentors as part of the HPAC application process. Students should apply for the HPAC recommendation in the spring semester before they apply to medical, dental, optometry or veterinary programs. Seniors planning “gap” time before applying to professional school should complete the request process before leaving campus. An informational meeting about the application process is held in early December. HPAC letters are kept on file in the Health Professions Advising Office in the Career Center.

Planning Ahead


While many pre-health students have a natural interest in the sciences, a major in the sciences is not required for admission to medical, dental or veterinary school. Professional schools welcome diverse academic backgrounds and select applicants who are passionate about what they study. Regardless of your major, you need to do well in prerequisite courses, and should complete all prerequisite courses before beginning the graduate application process and taking standardized entrance exams such as the MCAT or DAT.

Similarly, your choice of minor should follow from your interests. Minors in foreign languages, public policy, women's or men's studies, international relations, child advocacy, and a host of others serve pre-health students well. The Health Professions Minor is a popular option, but is not required. Your faculty adviser and pre-health adviser are here to help you fashion an academic program that fits your interests and abilities while satisfying the prerequisites for admission to professional or graduate programs.